There is hope. What we’re doing here might not be completely pointless. Despite what Green Day has preached for years, nice guys really do finish first. According to a study in the United Kingdom, in the long run, women favor altruism over selfishness.
Researchers at the University of Nottingham and King’s College, London, studied 157 pairs of female twins: 70 identical and 87 non-identical. Each participant answered various questions relating to her own altruism. They were then asked if those same traits would be desirable in a future mate.
The answers were then analyzed, suggesting that, at some point over our evolutionary lives, those with a preference for selflessness mated more frequently with other altruistic people.
“The expansion of the human brain would have greatly increased the cost of raising children so it would have been important for our ancestors to choose mates both willing and able to be good, long-term parents,” said Dr Tim Phillips and colleagues from the University of Nottingham and Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London.
“Displays of altruism could well have provided accurate clues to this and so led to a link between human altruism and sexual selection.”
How did the researchers come to this conclusion? Well, with more women showing traits of and a preference for altruism, it’s safe to say that somewhere along the way women mated more with altruistic men, passing along the gene. Phillips, the study’s leader, concluded:
“These results are consistent with a link between human altruism towards non-relatives and sexual selection and throws an exciting new light on the puzzle of altruistic behavior—which appears, at first sight, to be at odds with evolutionary theory.”